Recent Work on Sino-North Korean Relations, History, and Chinese Foreign Policy

The arbitrarily configured 70th anniversary of the Korean Workers’ Party, and the presence of a high-level Chinese delegation in Pyongyang, created a need for some commentary and context.  This post aggregates some of things I did in response to the event, and in the two months since the “August DMZ loudspeaker crisis” earlier this year.

On October 10, I was quoted in the Washington Post, and the Neue Zurcher Zeitung. The next day, I had a somewhat general radio interview with BBC Radio Wales and then appeared on BBC World Service, the noon television broadcast, in an interview which touched on the Chinese-North Korean relationship and purges in North Korea.  

On 1 October, I did a joint presentation in Leeds with Christopher Green about current events and historical resonances along the Sino-North Korean border. Full audio and a write-up for the event is available.

I did podcasts with Asia News Weekly and Ankit Panda of The Diplomat, both of which focused on China-North Korea relations. 

While Xi Jinping was in Seattle, I published a piece looking at anti-corruption efforts, illegal activities, and trade along the Chinese border with North Korea, focusing on the city of Dandong. 

Along the same thematic and geographical lines (but with more of a focus on the North Korean side of the border), an essay of mine was being published in a book published in Germany, edited by an intelligence specialist in Berlin. 

The Beijing “Victory Day” Parade on 3 September was another point of emphasis for global media interested in China’s foreign relations. I was quoted in The Economist, in a piquantly titled article “He Shells, She Shells” published in the print edition of the magazine focusing on inter-Korean relations under the Chinese banner.  

World War II memory in China came into momentary focus with an essay on Chongqing, against the backdrop of the massive and often historically uncomfortable preparations for the 3 September “Victory Day.” 

I also spoke to The Guardian‘s Beijing correspondent, Tom Phillips, about the CCP’s newly central role in state-guided depictions of the 1943 Cairo Conference.

In the Miscellaneous file, the BBC quoted me about the “non-disappearing Moranbong Band” and I published a big document analysis about North Korean human rights.  

On the conference circuit, I presented a major piece of new research on the Sinchon Massacre (which occurred during the Korean War, and was followed by a Chinese occupation of the town) at SOAS in London, at a very ambitious conference. 

Most of the Sinchon research came out of time I spent in the National Archives in London in early August. Later in September, I went back to Ulster (Northern Ireland) and the Republic of Ireland for an incredible set of papers — fortunately, I did not need to present anything at this particular event, but learned a great deal from Barak Kushner and others. 

Finally, I published an essay with The Guardian during the “August loudspeaker crisis” and a long treatment of Sino-North Korean relations with The Diplomat. 


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